A PENSIONER has denied abusing a young girl in his garden shed more than 20 years ago.

Leslie Barr helped his wife look after the girl as a favour for friends in Newton Abbot and he is alleged to have sexually assaulted her when she was aged six to nine.

The incidents allegedly happened in the back garden of his home where he had an aviary and a small shed and to have carried on until the girl told her parents she did not like going there.

Barr, aged 74, of Queensway, Newton Abbot, denies seven counts of indecent assault. He says he never touched the girl sexually and was rarely alone with her.

Miss Mary McCarthy, prosecuting, told a jury at Exeter Crown Court that the offences happened in the late 1990s or early 2000s but the girl only made a formal complaint to police in 2019.

She said Barr took advantage of his role as joint babysitter to touch the girl’s breasts and private parts and to carry out one more serious assault in the shed.

She said: 'He asked if she liked what he was doing and sometimes would say it was their secret.'

She recalled at one time being bent over a bench in the shed and he abused her.

'She recalls being very upset on that occasion. She says he also showed her pornographic magazines which she says he kept in his vehicle which was parked on the drive.

He would show her pictures and get her to stroke their breasts while encouraging her and saying ‘that’s right, that’s how you do it’.'

Miss McCarthy said Barr also got the girl to massage his back as he lay in bed. She told her mother she did not want to go to the house and later told friends of what had happened during a game of Spin the Bottle when she was about 12.

She then told her mother and teachers at school and the police were called in, but her family chose not to pursue the complaint at that stage. The complainant said she felt sick when she saw Barr in the years since and eventually decided to make a fresh complaint.

Barr was interviewed by police and denied any sexual activity with the girl, who he said was mainly babysat by his wife.

He said she rarely went into the garden with him because she did not like the noise of the birds in his aviary.

The trial continues and will run all week.